Hayley Thompson has a knack for the put-back.
She now has two game winning offensive rebounds and scores this season after hitting a jumper with 18 seconds left following sophomore LeDeyah Forte’s missed layup to give the CSU women’s basketball team a 53-51 win at Nevada Saturday.
“I know coming out of the first media timeout, Coach Williams told me focus on rebounding on the weak side,” she said. “I know it’s something that I can contribute to the team when I’m having an off-shooting night.”
Last time the teams matched up, senior Meghan Heimstra, junior Sam Martin and freshman Caitlin Duffy all came away with career highs.
Duffy stayed home with an illness saturday and the game belonged to sophomore Mandy Makeever and Thompson.
Makeever scored a career-high 12 points while Thompson had a personal best 11 rebounds along with the game-winning basket.
Heimstra led the team with 13 points, her third double-digit scoring game in a row. She also tallied four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
In the team’s first match up, the Ram’s allowed Nevada’s leading scorer, junior Danika Sharp to score 15 points.
On Saturday, they held her to 11, but junior Amber Smith scored a career-high 17.
Even though CSU lead Nevada in most statistical categories, the win did not come easly.
“Everything was so contested and physical,” CSU coach Ryun Williams said. “I thought our kids did a really good job in some urgent situations.”
CSU scored 17 points off 15 forced turnovers and only gave the ball away 10 times themselves.
CSU led by double-digits early in the second half before allowing Nevada to pull ahead during an 8-minute stretch where the Rams scored only four. Junior Alicia Nichols was sent to the line twice, going 2-4 to tie it up with one minute remaining.
“There was some urgency,” Williams said. “I think we made it really difficult on each other to score.”
With 40 seconds left, sophomore LeDeyah Forte stole the ball, taking it downcourt for a layup. She missed, but Thompson laid it in for the go ahead basket.
“The season has been a little disappointing as far as my scoring,” Thompson said. “But I know I can help my team in other ways.”
Those other ways include her 11 rebounds and three assists. Makeever also did an excellent job replacing Duffy in the starting five, something Williams was worried about.
“We talked about who was going to stretch their defense with Duffy gone,” said Williams. “Mandy did a good job with that.”
The win was an all around team effort, with Martin and Forte racking up eight points apiece while junior Alicia Nichols tallied 10.
“It was nice to see them compete,” said Williams. “We got some good ball movement and we found the shooters.”
The win puts the Rams at 7-9 in the Mountain West conference and 11-18 overall. They head into the Reese’s Mountain West Tournament as the six seed and will face No. 3 Wyoming on Thursday at 9:35 p.m. MT in Las Vegas.